Photos & Text ©2007 Adrian Bostock
North by Northwest (012)
10-14 days, Mountain Biking/Trail Riding
We will meet up in Kunming and from there head to Dali were we will spend three to four days riding mind blowing single track. I'm not just saying that, the riding here is very good. Dali is a tourist town (as in not hard core China and is a good soft introduction to the harder side of things) located between a large lake at 1800m and a ridge line of 4000m peaks. The far side of the lake offers up lower hills and killer XC rides, while the peaks near town offer every thing from lift access (to be worked out), road climbs and hike-a-bikes into long single track DH's. There are options from here to explore the surrounding area. The prime time is going to come after Dali. A jeep assisted camping trip in to grassland hills populated by Yi people. This is an area with an average elevation of 3000m, consisting of mellow gradient pasture land covering an estimated 100 square km's. I have not yet ridden here. Haiwei Trails along with my self made an exploratory jeep trip into this area in the fall of 2004. The options here are countless. During the three days and two nights we stay here you can expect long and eventful days of exploring and getting (not so) lost, followed by evenings of fire side beer-covery and chilly nights in tents.
And then the 4 day extension.... This option would be a trip up to Zhongdian, a personal favorite of mine. Zhongdian is the southern edge of the Tibetan world. The town it self is in a high valley sitting at 3300m. The 4500m peaks surrounding town offer some of the best trail riding around, though hard to reach and hard to ride due to the elevation. Most of the riding is on rocky, wide open logging track. Though there are some climbable XC rides, it's mostly hike-a-bike to get to the goods. The time pushing is well balanced with benchy XC stuff and steep DH's. It's good, Trust me. Getting away from Zhongdian back to Kunming depends on your budget. There is an air port with cheap domestic flights as well as night bus back to Kunming , so it won't be a problem to make your flight home.
The recently formed Kham Spokes, in association with Haiwei Trails, will be running some exploratory trail riding around the remote parts of Yunnan starting in the fall of 2007. Less road touring, more trail riding in the modern sense of the term; this won't be hammer head stuff, the priority will be fun.
For more info on Adrian Bostock, the evil genius behind Kham Spokes, please go here.